The Middle (S08E11) “Hoosier Maid”

Review: Sometimes, on very rare occasions, the Hecks can actually be lucky. It’s not like they’ll ever win the lottery, but when Frankie wins free maid service for a month, it sure feels like it. “Now, someone who is not me is going to come in here and clean.” But finding the right maid proves to be a little harder than she thought. Even though she wants to relax, Frankie finds it hard to completely let go of the cleaning without feeling guilty or having to answer questions about the house. Brick isn’t happy with the maid service and wonders why Frankie so desperately wants a clean house. Frankie explains to him that she isn’t happy with a messy house and as long as she doesn’t give up on it, there’s still hope that things can change. She finally hits the jackpot though with a maid who doesn’t make Frankie feel guilty and who’s is more than happy to clean everything. But of course, Frankie’s luck runs out right at that point: just when she found the perfect maid, the month of free service is over.

Meanwhile, Sue and Lexie are still living the college/orphan/prison life in ‘the bin’ and Axl, Hutch and Kenny illegally move in too because living in a Winnebago without a roof isn’t ideal in the winter. Sue needs Axl to move out as quickly as possible to make sure they don’t get caught, but thanks to April, they get caught anyway and they all have to move out. They move into the Winnebago, and that’s when the magic happens. Axl, who has always been a little self-absorbed, thinks Lexie is coming onto him (just like in episode 4 of this season). She denies, but after an encounter in the middle of the night, it looks like Lexie might actually develop some feelings for Axl. When she realizes this, she wants to get out of the bago as soon as possible, so she and Sue move into an expensive apartment Lexie’s dad agreed to pay for.

Mike is worried about his dad, who starts walking with a cane and thinks about moving him somewhere else and together with Rusty, who isn’t really the biggest help, they try to figure out what to do. Mike wants to move Big Mike into a nursing home, but he refuses. And after a talk with Nancy, Mike realizes that ‘you do for family’ so he tells Big Mike that he can move in with the Hecks. But as it turns out, Big Mike is feeling a lot better after a visit to the john.

Rusty is probably my favorite recurring character on The Middle and he was hilarious again in this episode. Everything he says just makes me laugh and Norm MacDonald and Neil Flynn have a great chemistry as brothers. I think it’s good that The Middle tackled this storyline because a lot of families struggle with situations like this and of course the way it ended was very funny.

I also loved Frankie’s problems with the different maids. It was nice to finally see a clean Heck house, and of course it was very typical that Brick ruined that moment after only a few minutes. But the Heck house wouldn’t be the Heck house if it wasn’t messy: “Home is where the crap is”.

All in all another hilarious episode, with a few nice twists. The thing between Axl and Lexie is hopefully going to be interesting in the next couple of weeks. I’m curious to see where the writers are taking this, but I’m liking it so far.

The Middle is back next week, 1/17 at 8/7c on ABC.

Rating: 9/10